As a Natural History Illustrator, it is the practice approach or methodology that enables resulting artworks/illustrations to perform a specific function as reference and resource imagery for the sciences. This type of practice and image-based outcome requires a period of contextual research, consultation and observation to inform the studio experience and resulting artworks. As an outcome of research, the artwork, or generated artefact embodies the knowledge acquired in the research process, and communicates the intended knowledge, theme or event that was the catalyst for its creation. It is in this context that technology offers the contemporary Natural History Illustrator considerable scope in studio practice, in collaborative engagement with the sciences and in the diverse forms of publication, exhibition and interaction offered by new and emerging digital media platforms. The traditional collaborative relationship between illustrators and the sciences has changed with digital imaging technologies. This has opened up new frontiers for observing, recording and representing visual data for both the artist and scientist. The roles in this relationship have not just changed over time but in some cases dissolved. The danger for the sciences in embracing just the functionality of imaging technology and negating the tacit knowledge of the artist visual mind in constructing and interpreting visual data could potentially limit the capacity of captured and constructed images, their interpretation and ability to effectively disseminate knowledge. It is the role of technology in practice-based research as an illustrator for the studio experience, research collaboration and intended forms of publication and interaction that I will discuss in the context of my PhD research titled Elephant: Art and Science.
SPECTRA 2012. SPECTRA: Images and Data in Art/Science: Proceedings from the Symposium SPECTRA 2012 (Canberra, A.C.T. 3-5 October, 2012) p. 64-70